Sunday, August 23, 2009

Health an the Writer

The reason I’m writing about this subject is because a writer’s work is sedentary. The nature of our job is deskbound in front of a computer. Even those who use pen and paper, or (heaven forbid) a typewriter, they are still stationary.

To put words on paper is to use your mind while being inactive physically. I am an author, and I know. Not only that I know many other authors who are the same, and I have heard horror stories about others. We become so focused on our books that we forget there is a real life beyond these boundaries.

So many writer’s will eat while they create their novels and often times the food consists of junk food like M & M’s or chips, something that is easy to munch on and still stay on the computer. I have always had the tendency to do that, but I am fortunate to have a husband who drags me away from my PC (screaming and kicking lol) for a few hours every day.

I know novelists who have gained weight to such limits that they have developed diabetes and other serious diseases to the extent that they have become bedridden. Some smoke to calm their nerves or to keep the weight off their bodies, which poses more health hazards. Whether we have an illness or not, we are all developing the same problem, we are causing muscle deterioration and losing strength in our limbs, which will cause major difficulty later in life. Some of these will be irreversible if something is not done in the early stages.

My health hasn’t been the best for many years. I have suffered with fibermyalgia and peripheral neuropathy since my early forties (it may have been earlier, but it wasn’t diagnosed until then), and one of the things my doctor told me was that exercise would help.

For several years, I have belonged to a goals oriented on-line Yahoo group who also set targets for exercise, which kept reminding me I needed to exercise. Also, I have a husband and sister who have nagged me about not keeping fit and that it help my mind, give me more energy, etc. All of us have heard it before, and we just let it go in one ear and out the other. Anyway, I didn’t have time for everything, and I let my health slide.

At my last birthday, I changed health insurance. This insurance believes in prevention and one of the ways they believe in deterring bad health is through exercise. To help people like me who won’t exercise by themselves, they are paying for my membership and monthly dues at the YMCA.

I’ve been exercising at the Y for two and a half months, and I can honestly say I feel a difference, much stronger physically and mentally. This is something every writer needs to take time to do for their selves, and I’m not saying I’ll stick to this regimen, but I hope I do. Smile. This is our health.

My question is, what do you do to help yourself keep fit?

Have a great week.


Belinda said...

My husband and I joined Weight Watchers in January. We started eating healthy and walking. Seven months later and 75 plus pounds (total) lighter, we still eat healthy and exercise on a regular basis. Doing the program together was good. We still eat out and have a glass of wine but do so sensibily. I feel better than I have in years. Both of us do.

Anonymous said...

One of the things I do to stay fit is the same thing I do to break/avoid writer's block. I go for a nice long walk. Refreshing the body and the spirit also refreshes the mind which allows the words to flow more plentifully and purposely.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sandy, I walk or run and lift weights. It really helps clear my mind and improve my mood. -Laura Hogg

J Hali said...

I'm hiding behind my monitor on this one. When I leave the cat cave, it is kicking and screaming with a sister on each arm. I know: bad. I keep saying I'm going to change but somehow it doesn't. Ducking back behind the screen now...

Linda LaRoque said...

I'm bad. I know I need to get up and exercise but rarely do. I did get on the elyptical machine for a while today so maybe that's a start.

I'm glad to hear your exercises are helping you, Sandy.

Sandy said...


Great for you and Joe. I would love to get my husband to do something like that.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sandy said...

Yea, Diana. Walking is always good, especially in the fall when the leaves. I love it.

Thanks for your comment.

Sandy said...

Laura, I'm doing cardio, core exercise and weights (only three pounds so far), and it's all making a difference.

Thanks for coming by.

Sandy said...


You sound just like me. Grin. I've only been doing this for two and a half months. I'm just hoping I stick with it.

Sandy said...

Thanks, Linda.

That elyptical machine is a tough one. The longest I've gone on it is 6 minutes. lol I don't do it every time I go to the gym either.

It's tough to make yourself exercise.

Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn) said...

Hey Sandy

I really dislike exercise but I find it's a necessary evil, lol! I try to cook balanced meals at home, and we also have 'healthy' snacks, even if we do indulge in some junk occasionally!

I personally do not eat when writing, or when I'm at the PC. Exercise, well, I do all the chores around the house, and since we live on the second floor, I take the stairs at least twice a day. I also try to stick to a Pilates regimen, usually twice a week, but the good thing about Pilates is that it improves your posture so your body is always 'working' for you even when you're sedentary. Found myself lots trimmer and toned this way.

Loved the topic, very good one.



EmilyBryan said...

Very important topic, Sandra. I remember hearing Lisa Jackson admit when she's on deadline she's "working her ass on!" All joking aside, sometimes I've wondered if I'm at risk for DVT's in my own home because I spend so much time in my "writing chair" each day.

For the past month, I've been adding a discipline to my day. After I hit my page count, I hit the treadmill for 30 minutes. The first week was excruciating, but now, I look forward to rewarding myself with that half hour. I do it for me.

K.T. Bishop said...

I find a way to walk between writing chapters or words... It helps clear my thoughts....

Sandy said...

Hey, Z, so glad to hear from you.

With your busy schedule, it's amazing you get so much done. Just picking up and chasing those kids around is enough to keep you toned. lol

Thanks for coming by, dear.

Sandy said...

Good for you, Emily.

It's great that you consider it a reward for you. Some writers think writing is there 'me' time. Even if they get published, what good will it do them if they aren't healthy.

Thanks for leaving a comment, Emily.

Sandy said...

Thanks, K.T.

Walking sometimes helps to clear my thoughts, too, but it depends on how fast I walk and that depends on if I walk outside or inside. lol

Paris said...

I find that when I walk outside I'm in a little better mood, probably because I'm totally away from my office (which is where the treadmill is)and staying in a positive frame of mind helps my health overall. As for diet, oh...I'm guilty of grabbing a cookie to munch especially during edits or approaching a deadline but I've stopped buying them--LOL! the only way I can resist;-)

Great blog!

Sandy said...

Thanks, Paris. I'm glad you liked it.

Carol Ericson said...

Sandy, fortunately exercise has been a part of my life for a long time. It's just part of what I do in my regular routine. Right now I walk. I live close to the beach, so it's a nice walk down to the beach and along the beach bike path. It's also a hilly walk, so that makes it great exercise. I don't stroll along in my walk. I keep up a quick pace, pumping my arms and working up a sweat. I don't think about exercise in terms of liking or disliking (although I tend to like it because I feel so much better after), it's just something I do every week. Listening to my iPod makes it even more fun. Love music, so it's a nice way to listen. I also lift light weights in front of the TV.

Sandy said...

Carol, thanks for stopping and leaving a comment.

You live in that great California weather where you can walk to the beach. That's wonderful.

You're so hyperactive, you don't need to exercise. Smile. Some people just have a lot of energy. You go girl.

Charisma Knight said...

Hey Sandy,

This is a great post. I enjoy Yoga in the morning, to help maintain my flexibility. Weight lifting is another exercise I enjoy as well. I exercise three times per week, ten minutes per day, something is better than nothing. The body must stay active or it will waste away.

Unfortunately, I don't have the drive to work out six days per week like I used to years ago. I'm lazy, and still must kick myself in the butt to continue exercising.I have gained eight pounds in one year and now trying to work those off. I picked the weight up while in school, since it was easier to stuff my face with junk instead of preparing and planning meals.

Since graduating from school, I don't fix late night snacks anymore. While I'm writing, I actually have the need to drink tea or coffee.

Take Care!

Sandy said...

Thanks for stopping by Charisma.

We're all lazy when it comes to fixing proper meals. I have to though because hubby would brain me if I didn't (or leave me lol)cook something. Grin.

It's hard to make ones self exercise, but I'm sticking with it because I feel better doing it.